President's National Security Adviser Galić steps down

Autor:

  • Marko Špoljar

17.12.2018.

HANZA MEDIA

Vlado Galić (left) and President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović (right)

President's National Security Adviser Galić steps down for "moral and ethical reasons" right after Jutarnji learned his resignation is a matter of days

The President's Defense and National Security Adviser Vlado Galić stepped down from his post on Thursday for "moral and ethical" reasons. It can be assumed that his resignation is linked to the so-called 'SMS scandal', which burst into the media in September after the arrest of former police IT expert Franjo Varga.

[Varga is the apparent author of forged text (SMS) messages used by high-level figures in political infighting.] He was arrested under suspicion of falsifying electronic correspondence between then Chief State Attorney Dinko Cvitan and a judge at the Osijek County Court, ostensibly on behalf of [fugitive football entrepreneur and major tax evader] Zdravko Mamić.

A month later, the Nacional magazine published an article which revealed direct connections between Varga, adviser Galić, and Deputy Speaker of Sabor (and deputy president of the ruling HDZ party) Milijan Brkić. It put the President's adviser squarely into the center of the 'SMS scandal'.

Question without answer

On Thursday, Galić failed to answer our questions on whether he felt morally responsible, or guilty, and whether his resignation was connected with the 'SMS scandal' (and in what way). On the same day President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said she would accept the resignation. She was asked if it was related to the 'SMS scandal' and whether the resignation amounted to the admission of guilt.

- He tendered his resignation for moral and ethical reasons - said the President. - I will accept it [formally] by the end of the week. The investigation is under way and I cannot and do not want to interfere in that investigation. I would not say that the resignation was the admission of guilt. Everything will be known when the investigation is completed. [Galić] told me personally it had nothing to do with accusations leveled against him.

A well-informed HDZ source claims that the imminent start of the election year is the main reason why Galić has to leave the Office of the President. -- She must not begin the election year burdened by Galić and the 'SMS scandal', which have nothing to do with her -- said the source. -- Galić's departure can be interpreted as a unloading of a heavy ballast.

Asked if Galić had to leave [the President's Office on] Pantovčak because of possible new information on his contacts with Varga, our source rejected the idea and said that the President, as one of the two best informed people at the top of the state, simply did not want to risk anything.

The source also indicated that Galić's departure should also be seen as a beginning of better relations between the President Grabar-Kitarović and Prime Minister [and HDZ president] Andrej Plenković. After all, Galić, was an important party operative of former HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko and was viewed as a threat by the current party leadership. He is also seen as a major player behind the rift between the President and the Prime Minister and the jabs at the executive Government coming from Pantovčak.

- It has created conditions for the thawing of relations with the party leadership - says the source. - Historically, no one has succeeded without the support of the party. She must not enter the election year with the burden of the 'SMS scandal'.

VNS without Galić

On Thursday, Galić's resignation was also commented by Prime Minister Plenković in Brussels. - I have seen the news that Galić resigned - he said. I do not know if it has been confirmed. I do not know anything beyond what has been published [in the media]. There will be a meeting of the National Security Council on Monday; perhaps we will know more after that. The entire scandal is not a good thing at all; I stand by that.

Galić's resignation on Thursday, "for moral and ethical reasons", pushed the question of whether Milijan Brkić should do the same to the forefront. Asked about that, President Grabar-Kitarović said she could not speak on his behalf.

Brkić himself commented on the 'SMS scandal' and Galić's resignation on Thursday. - It is sad that in our country it is more important who has met and had coffee with whom, than who the perpetrators of crimes are and who has been sentenced by a court verdict - he said. - I do not want to participate in this circus of lies and constructions.

The connection between Brkić and Galić was made by the Nacional magazine in the article that named both as Varga's main contacts at a time when Karamarko presided over the HDZ and Galić was the chief logistics officer in the party. Brkić's best man at the wedding, Blaž Curić, was arrested under the suspicion that he had tipped off Varga about police surveillance and possible imminent arrest.

Inačica na drugom jeziku / Alternate language version